Thursday, June 11, 2015

Guerrilla Marketing

Lately my local library has been showing its support for local business by hosting a series of lunchtime business seminars called Lunch & Learn. Today's seminar was on guerrilla marketing.

I signed up, having some vague idea that guerrilla marketing must mean an aggressive form of marketing. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that guerrilla marketing means unconventional systems of promoting a business on a low budget. Time, energy, imagination and out-of-the box tactics are what are used to grab attention and a competitive advantage. This one captures my imagination and attention immediately.

And the powerpoint showed us a host of surprising, imaginative, and even amusing examples of guerrilla marketing that range from a bike painted up in gold and the store logo and chained to a lamp post to promote a bike shop to a ladybird painted on the pavement to draw attention to a baby clothes outlet. Billboards and posters have been similarly manipulated in Photoshop and other software to produce out-of-the box advertising campaigns, such as an oversized bottle of twink out in the street to promote office products to a picture of roll of sushi superimposed on the spare tyre of a car to promote home-delivery sushi. Sound too can be used for guerrilla marketing. The sound of the ice-cream truck is a classic example.

I have even seen examples of guerrilla marketing myself. One example was a tyre firm out in Petone making a recycled Christmas tree out of old tyres. A mountain of tyres stacked up in a pyramid and painted to look Christmassy. It not only promoted the company but also the concept of making Christmas trees out of recycled products, hence the Retree Festival (making Christmas trees out of recycled or craft products) last year.

We were shown slides of how simple things can be turned to creative advertising at low cost. One was the aforementioned painted up bike to promote a bike shop. But how about vehicles? Paint your hubcaps, make something out of plywood and put it on the top? Or how about a wall or window display? Another example I saw was down at Knitworld. They have a window display that advertises the upcoming Yarn Garden (making a wool garden out of knitting and crochet down at Andrews Avenue to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day). The window display has a garden fork and spade turned into works of art by being all covered in colourful crochet work. At the bottom are knitted and crochet squares of garden patches filled with lettuce, carrots, radishes and flowers, all made from wool. Such a display not only advertises the Yarn Garden but Knitworld itself, and cannot have cost much to create. 

Spam can be irritating, but apparently it too can be guerrilla marketing. Type in a keyword for, say, plumbers, and you can find an ad that promotes a product for cleaning drains. Even controversy (such as one campaign that said buy one pizza, get one condom free) can also be used for guerrilla marketing. Controversy may range from bad taste to outrage, but it has the upside of polarising public opinion between those who turn away and those who are curious and want to check it out. It is no wonder that rent-a-crowd outfits have become a business as bad publicity can be good publicity.

Our host gave us examples of how guerrilla marketing is not only used to promote businesses but also to get messages across. One was painting streets with flowers to reduce road rage and trouble with traffic wardens. Another was using speech balloons on a beach to encourage people not to litter.

Once we had got the idea of guerrilla marketing we were then given a plan of how to draw one up. It went as follows:

Objective: What do you want to achieve? 
Example: Tell people I'm the best plumber in Petone

Target Audience: Who are you talking to?
Example: Everyone around the Petone area

Target message: What do you want to say? And remember - it must overlap with what your audience is interested in so it will be relevant to them.
Example: When you need a plumber, ring the best!

Guerrilla idea: What is the idea to get attention?
Example: big cut-out tap with sign hanging from it

Impact Zone: Where are you going to put it?
Example: On van, on property

Creative Execution: What do you need to bring it to life?
Example: make the tap in plywood and bolt it to the roof rack

Cost implication: How much will it cost?
Example: $75 for painting and cutting out, $25 for sign

Duration: How long is it going to last?
Example: use every day

Surround Sound: What else will draw people?
Example: put picture on invoices, send to newspaper

This was one of the most rewarding business seminars I have ever been to. Use the tools of your imagination and creativity to create an advertising campaign out of everyday products, computer graphic software, and objects you see in everyday life to get yourself noticed in ways that turn heads and save money!